WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. — New Orleans has been moving first-round pick Andrus Peat all over the formation for the past few days.
On Thursday, Peat manned the left tackle position and took some snaps as a sixth offensive lineman in the Saints’ jumbo packages. In Friday’s scrimmage, he set up at left tackle while the Saints sat Terron Armstead, who returned to the field on Sunday. Then, on Sunday, Peat lined up inside at guard, a surprising spot for a player the Saints have always said they consider a tackle.
Placing Peat at guard for a cameo has been the plan all along. If Peat is one of the Saints’ active backup offensive linemen, he’s going to have to swing to other spots in a pinch.
“What we’ve been able to do, based on our personnel, if all of a sudden we’re down in one position, he’s kind of been the guy we want to see play that tackle position,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “We were down a guard today, and we wanted to put him at left guard. The key is to get the right guys out there. I do see him as a tackle, and yet, I think he has the athleticism to play inside. … Without having planned practice tomorrow, I think there’s a good chance he’ll come back outside to tackle.”
Peat has gotten a ton of snaps, taking nearly 40 in Friday’s scrimmage, more than any other offensive lineman, a workload that contributed to conditioning issues at the end of Friday’s practice.
The rookie’s mental acuity allows him to shift around the formation without much trouble in the playbook.
“The vision when we drafted him was tackle,” Payton said. “Today he took some snaps at left guard, but we’ll keep moving him around. He’s bright, he knows what to do.”
Peat’s shifting around the offensive line is a rite of passage for a lot of young offensive linemen.
“A lot of rookies are asked to do a lot of things and play positions they haven’t played,” Saints center Max Unger said. “It can only help you, as far as knowing the offense and knowing multiple positions.”